Orlando, FL – December 18, 2012 - Aloft, the new specialty select Starwood brand of modern, loft-inspired design hotels targeting business and leisure travelers, today announced that Craig Leicester has been appointed as General Manager and Ricardo Echeverri as Director of Sales and Marketing of the new Aloft Orlando Downtown. The 118-room hotel, owned by GDC Properties, LLC, is ideally located in the heart of the city at 500 South Orange Avenue in the former 110,000-square-foot Orlando Utilities Commission building. It is currently under construction and scheduled to open in July 2013.
As General Manager, Mr. Leicester will direct all areas of the hotel’s operations, including guest services, sales and marketing efforts, and hotel administration.
Having over 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Leicester brings extensive lodging expertise to the Aloft Orlando Downtown. Prior to joining the hotel, he served in positions as General Manager, Director of Guest Services and Director of Food & Beverage Outlets at various boutique/luxury hotels in Florida and New Mexico. Leicester has also spent time as the Assistant Food & Beverage Outlets Manager at the Hilton in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a graduate of the Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Hotel Administration.
Mr. Echeverri brings over seven years of hospitality sales and marketing experience to the Aloft Orlando Downtown. Prior to joining the team, he was with the parent company of the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando where he served as Corporate Transient Sales Manager. He is a graduate of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management.
“Craig and Ricardo both have outstanding records in hotel management and we are confident that this duo will be instrumental in ensuring the success of the new Aloft Orlando Downtown” said Stuart Newmark, Executive Vice President of Yedla Management Company, the Aloft Orlando Downtown’s management company.
Infused with the DNA of W Hotels, Aloft is a new destination sensation featuring loft-inspired design, accessible technology and a stylish urban attitude. Guestrooms include spacious 10 foot high ceilings, plush platform beds, walk-in showers with amenities from Bliss Spa, free Wi-Fi and connectivity devices that enable guests to connect their laptops, DVD players and Play Stations® on to the 42” LCD TV. Designed in conjunction with world-renowned David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group, Aloft offers atmospheric public spaces where guests can mix and mingle, read the paper, work on laptops, play a game of pool or grab a drink with friends at the re:mixSM communal lobby area and w xyzSM bar. The re:chargeSM fitness center and splash pool give travelers options to de-stress and re-energize, while re:fuel by aloftSM, offers sweet, savory, and healthy food, snacks, and beverages to grab & go, 24-hours a day. For meetings and events, Aloft accommodates guests with its state of the art A/V equipment in its 7,200 square feet of flexible meeting space. Aloft hotels are also part of the “see green" program, which promotes ecologically friendly practices, products and services both inside and outside the hotel, and also creators of the arfSM (Animals are fun) program, which allows guests to travel with their pets. For additional information, call 407.380.3500 or visit www.aloftorlandodowntown.com.
About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 900 properties in more than 100 countries and 155,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched AloftSM, and ElementSM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com
About GDC Properties
GDC Properties, based in Westchester New York, is an award-winning developer, specializing in the acquisition and management of residential and commercial properties. Founded in 1964 by Samuel Ginsburg, the company has a diverse asset portfolio in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Colorado, Georgia and Florida. Today, under the leadership of Co-Chairman Adam Ginsburg, the company’s residential development activities are focused in New York City, where 220 Water Street, the luxury loft development in Brooklyn’s DUMBO historic district, is fully leased. The company is also developing NORA, a luxury mixed-use development in Orlando’s North Quarter.
About Yedla Management Company
Yedla Management Company is an owner, operator and developer of full service and select service hotels situated throughout the Southeast U.S. with properties under the Starwood, Marriott and Hilton brands. www.yedlahotels.com
(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results and events will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.)